Pandaw River Expeditions have announced that they will construct two new ships in Myanmar at the Sinmalike shipyard in Yangon.
The Pandaw fleet comprises replicas of the famous Irrawaddy Flotilla paddle steamers which once graced the Irrawaddy River during British colonial times. The two new K-plus class vessels, 56 meters in length, have 20 staterooms for passengers. The ship’s shallow draft of less than one meter allows it to navigate narrow channels and low tides even in dry season.
“It is wonderful to be building again in Burma where we started nearly 20 years ago,” said Pandaw founder Paul Strachan. “There is a lot of ship-building know-how there, and we can achieve the ultra shallow drafts so essential for the extreme low water conditions now prevailing.”
The new vessels are expected to be in service by July 2014 and will join a fleet of two others which carry mostly international travelers on cruises on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers, taking in sites in Mandalay and Bagan en route.
Pandaw River Expeditions also offers tours on the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam, and on the Rajang River in Borneo.
During Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the Scots firm donated one of its ships to a British NGO to be used as a mobile medical center, and the company continues to be involved in several charity projects throughout the country.